Review: R.I.P.D.

By Mark Saldana 

Rating: 1.5 (Out of 4 Stars)

Based on the Dark Horse comic by Peter M. Lenkov, R.I.P.D. steals much of its tone and humor style from the Men in Black movies, another comic-inspired franchise. The problem this time is that the humor in the film version of the Rest In Peace Department hardly ever works. Throw in a dull hero played just as dully by Ryan Reynolds, an equally uninteresting villain with a cliché plot, and an irritating performance by Jeff Bridges and you’ll have this bomb of a comic-book based movie which I cannot recommend whatsoever.

After using really poor judgment and working with corrupt cops on the force, Detective Nick Walker (Ryan Reynolds) has a change of heart and decides to go legit. Before he can do this, one of his associates murders him in cold blood. In the afterlife, Nick is recruited by the Rest in Peace Department; an organization which targets escaped undead who wrongfully remain on earth. Nick gets partnered with Roycephus Pulsipher (Jeff Bridges), a grizzled former law man from the old west. Nick decides to take this opportunity to set things right and make sure that the one responsible for his death pays for his crime. In doing this, Roy and Nick uncover a plot by the undead to take over the earth and discover that Nick’s ex-partner Bobby Hayes (Kevin Bacon) has a hand in these unsettling events.

Written by Phil Hay, Matt Manfredi and Dave Dobkin, and directed by Robert Schwentke, R.I.P.D. remains dead in the water because of the poorly written script, cliché scenarios and dull characters. The film has a few action sequences, but they lack the necessary thrills that make these type of scenes fun. It doesn’t help that these sequences are so poorly directed and shot by cinematographer Alwin Kucher. In addition to the sloppy cinematography, the cheap-looking CGI gives the film an overly cartoonish look and it’s downright distracting.

Another irritating and distracting element has to do with Jeff Bridges’ performance as Roy. This throwback character from the old west always sounds like he has too much dip in his mouth, or some speech impediment, possibly due to bad oral hygiene, and I could not stand him at all . With his annoying voice and diction, his character talks way too much and there were plenty of times that I just wanted to yell, “SHUT UP!” to the movie screen. Ryan Reynolds and Kevin Bacon counter Bridges by playing their characters fairly straight, but they probably tone it down way too much and appear flat and dull as a result. Bacon’s portrayal of the villain is not quite as bad as Reynold’s portrayal of one the heroes, but his performance definitely has its “phoned in” moments.  Mary Louise Parker is fun and sexy as the Proctor, a superior of the R.I.P.D., but once again, she has weak material with which to work.

Sadly, extraordinary measures cannot save this deceased movie from its problems of poor writing, messy direction and lousy acting. I feel that audiences should definitely pull the plug on this lost cause. Do not rush to the cinema and please do not spend your money on R.I.P.D.  Let it go away peacefully.

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